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Delightful Blackmail

Num°02 ITALY

During a trip through the countryside of Southern Italy, someone casually observes that when you stop your car, suddenly unable resist eating a succulent watermelon that you have spotted in a field, then you realize that Italy leaves under the constant threat of pleasure, which explains why not much can change in that part of the world.  The author uses this example, found in the work of a contemporary Italian author, as a starting point to investigate the paradoxical nature of this pleasure threat. He finds it mentioned by other Italian authors, from Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa to Roberto Esposito. With further references ranging from Gramsci and Carlo Levi to Roberto Benigni, the author claims that today’s Italian predicament, in its cultural and ethical disorientation masterminded by the current Prime Minister, is in fact connected with this “obscene” injunction to enjoyment, whose cultural roots are hard to shatter. And, as long as the opposition answers the injunction to enjoyment with an overprotective removal of the enjoyment surplus, it has few chances of changing the rules of the game.

Delightful Blackmail

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